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WASHINGTON — Police officers and firefighters who helped save lives in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were honored with the Medal of Valor in a White House ceremony Wednesday.

“I’m obviously honored,” said Watertown Police Sergeant John MacLellan, who insisted that he and those celebrated Wednesday were a few of many officers worthy of the award for their response to the bombing.

“It’s something you never think you’re going to get into,” said Officer Timothy Menton, who was honored alongside his brother, Patrick, a Watertown firefighter. “When push comes to shove, you’re going to do that job you swore the oath to do.”

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Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, Officers Joseph Reynolds and Miguel Colon Jr., and Watertown Firefighter James Caruso also received the award.

During the shootout in the wake the Marathon bombings in April 2013, the White House said, officers and firefighters who responded helped protect the lives of those in uniform despite heavy gunfire.

Vice President Joe Biden draped the purple-and-yellow-striped ribbons around the necks of 20 public safety officers, and presented medals to the families of two officers killed while responding to armed robberies. ‘‘You’re a rare breed,’’ Biden said. ‘‘You’re all crazy. We love you for it. We need you. You are the best thing we have going for us.’’


Sylvan Lane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.